The Truth About Change

Actress turned writer and entrepreneur Felicia Ricci gave a TED Talk (watch it here), speaking about being ‘racked with doubt’ when making the decision to move away from her professional and lifelong dream of acting.

When dancers come to talk to DCD about what direction their lives will take after a professional performance career, they so often express the same anxiety and doubts – they can be unsure of the next step, whether it will be a success, whether it is the right move.

I myself am currently going through a significant life change – a major lifestyle choice I decided to make that affects my career, my family, my home. It fills me with excitement as well as doubt.

Whatever the major shifts we make in our lives, nothing ever really prepares us for the unexpected challenges that go along with those changes, despite the best laid plans.

That’s part of the thrill and also part of what can hold us back from taking that first step in making the change we want to make in our lives.

What if after making this change, I change my mind? What will everyone think? Will I have failed?

These are natural thoughts, and it is important to give them space and acknowledge them.

So that first idea of career change wasn’t THE one after all – that’s OK (it often isn’t). You changed your mind, after really putting your all into it – that’s fine.

We try new things. We succeed. We fail. We grow.

More often than not it will not be easy and there will be many surprises (both good and less so) along the way, as I have personally found. What is important is to be open to new experiences, to try new things, to give yourself the time you need to adapt to the changes in your life and career.

Change is scary, but try to take that first step. If it seems daunting, DCD’s coaching support for dancers can help you find a way to put your ideas into action.

DCD is here at any stage and any time to help support professional dancers through that journey.


Find out more about coaching here or email to register for our forthcoming EVOLVE workshops – a full day workshop for professional dancers exploring life after a dance career.

Olympic athlete announces her retirement – so what comes next?

Today athlete Samantha Murray, the London 2012 silver medallist, announced her retirement from modern pentathlon, at the age of 29.

Murray told BBC Sport “it’s been really hard and taken me over a year to make my mind up”.

For both professional athletes and dance artists, the transition to a new career is paved with physical, emotional and financial challenges. It is a shared experience almost unique to elite performers.

Throughout her training and early career, Murray was encouraged to pursue a degree, studying French and politics whilst also working as a waitress.

We actively encourage performers to broaden their horizons during their career. To be curious and explore their other passions, beyond dance.

This is why DCD are excited to be launching ‘Beyond Dance’ a new scheme of world-class mentoring opportunities for dancers, connecting the world of dance and business. The first of its kind in our sector, this scheme is delivered in partnership with Moving Ahead, experts in mentoring for elite athletes.

We’re also proud to support the LEAP initiative (Leading Edge After Performance) – an innovative and collaborative partnership exploring career and life transition issues amongst dancers and athletes.

Murray told BBC Sport that it will “take some time” to find her “next passion” after retirement.

Dancers don’t need to wait until that final performance to begin exploring what could come next. Start now and know that DCD are here to help you evolve into a career beyond performing, whenever the time comes.


See the story on BBC.

Akram Khan Reflects on Transition

“My transition from a performance career into a non-performance career is a continuous transition, perhaps for another few years until I completely stop performing on stage.”

Akram Khan is preparing to present Xenos at the Edinburgh Festival.

As Xenos marks Akram’s final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece, he recently spoke to DCD reflecting on this final performance, his own transition from a performance career and his thoughts on dancer transition and retraining.

Akram spoke honestly of his awareness of time impacting the body and the importance for dancers to “remain dancers, even when we retire from the stage”. “If I was pushed to give advice”, he told us, “I would say ‘don’t stop moving’.”

So often, dancers dealing with the transition from a professional performance career can feel pressure to go in a certain direction, to find the perfect next career. Akram reflected on this – “it’s very important for dancers to be aware of the choice they make in what they do after a stage career, and I feel it has to be very organic. It’s making the most organic and right choice for you rather than the logical choice, which is sometimes pushed upon you from the way the world works.”

At DCD, we often encourage dancers to think about what else excites you, outside of dance? What gives you joy and energy? Broadening your horizons, pursuing a hobby outside of the studio, can help to deal with the challenges of career transition. “It’s very useful to have something over that timeline, that deadline, where you know that that’s the next journey that you want to step into – that is somehow helping me” Akram explained. “I’m interested in anthropology, in working with film. I’m looking into other areas, which in the past I didn’t because all that I cared about was my body. As I step away from the body I’m becoming more outward looking.


Hear more of Akram Khan’s reflections in this beautiful film, created by DCD supported dancer and now professional film maker Robert Gravenor:



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Photo credit: Jean-Louis Fernandez for Akram Khan Company

A Tribute to Dame Gillian Lynne DBE

Today we pay tribute to former DCD Patron Dame Gillian Lynne DBE – a true inspiration to all those in the world of dance and a much loved supporter of dancers.

We celebrate Dame Gillian’s many incredible achievements and are truly grateful for her commitment to this charity and support for dancers going through the transition away from a professional performance career, including the many dancers who perform in the West End and are inspired by her remarkable energy and spirit.

Dame Gillian’s extraordinary work for DCD was invaluable, including for DCD’s Gala performance of “Cats”, and subsequent work on behalf of the charity, all of which raised substantial donations, later becoming a much valued Patron of the charity.

We remain forever indebted for Dame Gillian’s generosity.



Photo credit: @Gillian_Lynne

The Evolution of DCD

Hello there. And welcome to our new look.

This new look and website, which we’re very excited to share with you, are a reflection of how DCD, and our support for dancers in transition beyond a performance career, has evolved.

Our new look is based on the concept of the core – the strength of the centre, a determined focus and the fact that we know that, no matter at what point they are in their lives, a dancer will always be a dancer. It is not what they do, it is who they are – to their very core.

Our new logo is a circular brushstroke of continuous movement, as there is in dance and in the life long journey of career transition, with DCD and our support for the individual at the centre.

Originally founded in 1973 as ‘The Dancers’ Resettlement Fund’, we changed our name to Dancers’ Career Development in the 1980s as a result of DCD expanding our work to support all professional dancers in the UK to successfully transition beyond a performance career.

This change reflects the more rounded service DCD offers to dancers in terms of sustainable, long term career development.

Over time, the balance has shifted and the support services that dancers are increasingly coming to us for are those around practical, emotional and psychological support, including upskilling, coaching and workshops.

This new website will make accessing our support even easier for dancers, and demonstrate to our partners how they can help change the life of a dancer in transition.

As we respond to the changing needs of dancers, by offering initiatives such as our new online networking platform DCD Connect (coming soon!), and creating paid work experience placements for dancers through our Career Insights Programme – dancers will continue to be at the core of everything we do.


If you would like to support DCD to continue to change the lives of dancers in transition beyond a performance career, click here.


With enormous thanks to all those who have contributed to the creation of this new look and website: Brand Designer Nat Cowx; Web Developer and DCD supported dancer; Greig Cooke; and including photographs by Photographer Karen Hutchins,  Patrick Baldwin and Caroline Holden and Photographers and DCD supported dancers Lindsey Brook, Tim Cross, Nicole Guarino, Rimbaud Patron, Pierre Tappon, Stephen Berkley-White,  Andrew Ross, Johan Persson and Tyrone Singleton.